What does international women's day 
mean to you?

This year marks the 111th anniversary of International Women's Day (IWD). Every year has a unique, different theme, and this year's theme is #BreakTheBias. The initiators call for a diverse, equal, and inclusive world free of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination, where differences are valued and celebrated. In honor of the history of International Women's Day, we want to remember, how impressive women, who fought for their rights, became role models for many. However, we also want to draw attention to the fact that we are still a long way from gender equality! 

Before we come to the present, let's briefly check-in and understand what International Women's Day is? 

On International Women's Day, March 8th, we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide. This global day's powerful call to action is to accelerate gender parity in all aspects, not only leadership positions. Worldwide, women's achievements are celebrated, and there are countless events to support women's equality to drive positive change and sustainable development goals. 

This year, Women's Day is especially important because the pandemic has put equality particularly at risk. During the Corona pandemic, mainly women took on additional childcare and homeschooling responsibilities in addition to their home office jobs. Moreover, women are responsible for much of the unpaid care work, eroding the chance to gender parity. Unfortunately, this again shows how much work we have to do to achieve equal pay, also in foresight for young women. 

The status quo clearly demonstrates that we are still a long way from equality, regardless of the great efforts that incredible women and male counterparts have made in the past. 

Women and all humans need equal opportunities no matter what and in all walks of life, personal, social, or professional. 

It is a myth that International Women's Day only matters to women. It matters to all humans. This became even more obvious as we reached out to the community to listen to what this day means to them. 

Sharon Ehrlich  on "What does international women's day mean to you?": "International Women's Day is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of exceptional women around the globe. It's also a reminder that there is still urgent work to be done to address unequal pay, increase female representation at all levels of government and business, and make the world a safer place for women and girls to exist. We must not forget our sisters, who still must fight for the right to be educated and to have their voices heard. This is work women cannot do alone, and men need to do their part to ensure that their mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters are afforded the same access and opportunities that they enjoy." 

"Past, presence, future of International Women's Day. For me personally, this is a journey to the past, as it used to be celebrated in all Eastern States and West Berlin, maybe been ahead of the curve. Today this special day is a reminder that we are not there as a society and need to work on gender, race, color, and any other bias. Looking forward to the future, when this International Woman's Day will be obsolete and we will have broken the bias of gender inequality. So let us work every day on all biases, together - step by step with humanity and empathy!" answered Thorsten Stiller

"The International Women's Day is a great opportunity to make people and companies aware of the importance of women in key positions. Nevertheless, it should be a matter of fact that women belong there where decisions are taken and key topics are discussed. Companies have to establish a culture and structure which enables that - and women have to step up and claim actively their space on the table." said Lena Weigele

Andreas Zink replied to, "What does international women's day mean to you?": "IWD is an excellent opportunity to reflect and exchange about ourselves as human beings, biases, stereotypes, roles, behaviors, habits, etc. It takes place (only) once a year and my hope is that it has a positive impact on the following 364 days. Be March 8th, 2023 a day where a majority of people can say: we made and/or have experienced a difference over the last 365 days." 

Amy Benoit's take is: "International Women's Day is about freedom and fairness. Women deserve to feel comfortable and respected in and out of work settings, to receive equal pay for equal work, to be advocated for, to be loved for who they are not what they look like, to feel safe when they are walking down the street, to be believed when they share their stories. Since day one, women have had everything we need. It's the world that convinces us otherwise and tears us apart. As humans, we possess the capacity to choose the ways we live, lead and help others. It is time to choose awareness, acceptance, and action. There are indigenous people in Latin America who have a saying that their tribe is like an eagle: one wing is male and one wing is female, and only when the wings are equally strong will their tribe fly high. Stay true to yourself." 

Jonas Wolf provided this statement: "IWD is a great chance to highlight our female change-making role models. Let's inspire each other, support each other and cultivate the next generation of purpose-driven leaders - men and women side by side, equal in all ways."

"International Women's Day is an opportunity for me to stop and acknowledge how far we have come and how much further we need to go. It also allows me to celebrate not only the famous female pioneers but also the women in my sphere who are often unnoticed but who are making significant contributions in their own way." said Sharon Gill

Stephan Park on "What does international women's day mean to you?": "I have to admit that I only found out about International Women's Day last year, in 2021, on LinkedIn. Before that, as a man, it wasn't on my radar at all. In any case, I can say from the countless posts on LinkedIn about International Women's Day that it brings relevant issues to the forefront that were not at all or not very present for me as a man in the past. For example, the pay gap and the better compatibility between career and family." 

"It's time to research, reflect and act. Research the latest studies to have a clear view of where we are in terms of improvement. Reflect n on what really makes an impact when it comes to #breakthebias. Act to really make the difference in someone's life. Flowers are nice, but strategic initiatives move mountains!" was Mariana Gastaldello Ricardo's insight to our question "What does international women's day mean to you? " 

Stephen Mandel's take on "What does international women's day mean to you? ": "There shouldn't have to be an IWD. My daughter should grow up expecting that she will be treated the same as my son. But she won't be. That's why one day may be a symbolic gesture, but it reminds us to push against that bias every day of the year." 

"The Future of Leadership: Partnering for Change "

Annette Behrendt and I chose to launch an initiative to even out the playing field. 

It was intentional to deliver the inaugural workshop on this year's international women's day for a better future and enabled world. Thank you to all participants and the experts from Leaders21com, Thomas Kleindessner and Jailan Rashed, for sharing insights, experiences, and ideas on moving forward to #BreakTheBias. 

A shocking result from a global study on leadership conducted by PWC is that 2/3 of leaders understand that DEI is a priority, yet only 5% act on it! 

With "The Future of Leadership", we want to drive real change, create further awareness, and initiate a thought process to increase self-awareness to enable a world free of bias and shape change. Only once we are aware of our own bias can we make choices and be the change we want to see. 

We are passionate about recognizing the different skills women bring to the table rather than getting them to fit a specific idea of what a leader should be. For example, leaders of the future and female leaders own a specific superpower - emotional intelligence. 

#BreakTheBias is about embracing who we are as women, female colleagues, leaders and working towards making sure that we are recognized as such in the workplace and the many other areas of life, not just on International Women's Day but every day and beyond. 

#BreakTheBias goes beyond gender, including race, culture, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and mental health. It is time to acknowledge that we live in a diverse world, and we are all different and unique in our way, nevertheless deserve equal rights. 

Collectively we can make a difference today and tomorrow. 

Already Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe said: "Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." 

Therefore, we invite you to join our Slack community, our next workshop, on 

April 11th, 6 pm CET | noon EST | 9 am PST
with Marisa Zalabak from Open Channel Culture 

and follow along. 

We will explore how to initiate change in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? Furthermore, we will identify tips and tricks and how can we avoid pitfalls. 

You know what you want to achieve, change personally, and with this, you can have an even larger impact. 

So...Start today. Start with your first step. Start small. Just start. 

Only collectively can we forge equality. 

Sign up to receive all invitation links and information on future projects. 

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